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2 August 2021

Top 10 Mental Health Tips

Working in the racing industry can be demanding and it is vital to take care of your mental wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.

The Mental Health Foundation has compiled a guide of best tips for looking after your mental health – backed by research. Read on for our summary of how you can integrate these tips into your day-to-day routine.

Some tips will be easier to put into practice than others, and remember, only do what works for you – that is enough.

1. Get closer to nature

Working in the racing industry means that many of us are based outdoors or surrounded by animals a lot of the time. Even those in office-based roles may have easier access to outdoor environments than an average office worker. For some people, being in nature can help them feel calmer, more hopeful and less alone.

When you are out in nature, on the racecourse, at the yard or on the gallops, try reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ of what is around you – the trees, plants, birds and animals, for instance. Take a deep breath, notice how you feel, and try to connect with your surroundings.

Watch our short film about how nature can positively impact mental wellbeing.


2. Learn to understand and manage your feelings

Intense feelings can interfere with our lives, making it difficult to think clearly or work, relax, study, sleep or deal with other people.

To help manage your feelings you could try:

  • Paying attention to your feelings, naming that feeling without judging it.
  • Being kind to yourself.
  • Recognising what might have led to you feeling a particular way.
  • Writing down your feelings.

Read the Mental Health Foundation’s advice on understanding and managing feelings here.

If you’re struggling with understanding or managing your feelings you can access in-the-moment support from a trained counsellor via Racing’s Support Line.


3. Talk to someone you trust for support

It can take a lot of courage to unbottle our feelings and tell someone else if we are struggling.

Maintaining connections and relationships with those around us can help make difficult conversations feel a little easier, and connection can also positively impact our mental wellbeing. With this in mind, try to do something a little different today and make a connection:

  • Talk to someone instead of sending a text
  • Speak to someone new
  • Arrange to meet someone you haven’t seen in a while
  • Ask someone how their weekend was, and really listen to their answer

See our further tips on starting a conversation here.


4. Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings

For some people, using illegal drugs or alcohol can help them cope with difficult feelings. This is never a healthy solution, and will only ever provide temporary respite, often making things worse or potentially leading to other problems including addiction.

Find out more about Racing Welfare’s addiction support here.


5. Try to make the most of your money and get help with debt problems

Money worries and fears about paying debts, bills and essentials such as food and electricity can be very stressful.  You might feel ashamed or alone when it comes to managing your finances but, the truth is, we are never alone with money problems. It is one of the leading causes of stress for many people.

Racing Welfare offers money advice to anyone working in the racing industry, and we also offer practical financial assistance through our targeted grants programme. Find out more here or call Racing’s Support Line.


6. Get more from your sleep

A lack of sleep can affect everything in life including your productivity, your relationships, your family life and your overall health.

Adults need between 7 and 9 hours’ sleep a night, including enough dreaming sleep and enough deeper sleep.

If you’re struggling with your sleep, think about making a few simple changes.

For example:

  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine to help you start winding down before you actually go to sleep
  • Avoid TV and mobile screens, alcohol and caffeine before bed. This will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. You could also avoid vigorous exercise before bed.
  • Go to bed and get up at around the same time every day, including weekends.

For further support with your sleep find out more about Sleepstation, the NHS accredited, personalised sleep programme available to racing industry staff via Racing Welfare.


7. Be kind and help create a better world

Small or large acts of kindness towards other people can give you a sense of purpose. It can make you feel happier and more satisfied with life. Here are a few ideas to get your started:

  • Say thank you to someone for something they have done
  • Offer to help someone at work
  • Bring biscuits for the team at breakfast, just because you want to
  • Volunteer in your local community

Find out more about volunteering with Racing Welfare here.


8. Keep moving and eat well

Regular physical activity and healthy eating is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. The racing industry is naturally physical but it is also important to do other activities that you enjoy, especially if they have a social aspect. A few ideas are:

  • Walk or cycle to work – perhaps with another member of staff
  • Organise a sporting activity with your colleagues
  • Attend a Racing Welfare sporting event in your local community
  • Could you take on a challenge such as sponsored walk or run?

Racing Welfare hosts sporting events in various locations up and down the country, free to attend for anyone working in the racing or breeding industry. Find out more here.

Find out more about physical fundraising challenge events here.


9. Be curious and open-minded to new experiences

Life can feel more interesting, lively and rewarding when we are open to trying new experiences and experimenting with how we do things.

The Mental Health Foundation suggest this could be as simple as what we have for breakfast or the route we walk with the dog. It could also need some planning, like an adventure holiday. We might find a new place that it turns out we love, discover a talent we didn’t know we had or meet someone new and important.

Read more on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.


10. Plan things to look forward to

Having things to look forward to, or learning a new skill, can help us cope with difficult situations.

Learning new things and making plans can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, help build a sense of purpose and help us connect with others. Some things you could try:

  • Sign up for a class to learn a new skill
  • Read the news or a book
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Sign up for a challenge event

How to get further support

Racing Welfare’s mental health services are part of our award-winning Workforce Wellbeing Programme (WWP). If you are concerned that you or someone you know is suffering from low wellbeing and/or a mental health problem then you can contact us in the following ways:

  • call us on 0800 6300 443
  • Speak to a trained counsellor here

Get Support Now

Racing Welfare’s 24 hour support line enables people to access support and
guidance through digital and telephone options.

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